Stoke's Glenn Whelan did not try to hide the fact that the lads put in a bit of a stinking performance at Newcastle on Sunday, but he does believe a strong finish to the season is on the cards.

Stoke never looked like they would get back into the game once the Magpies had taken the lead, they were simply outclassed by a side that is being well run and riding on the crest of a wave into the Champion’s League.

City now have just one win in their last eight games to show for their trouble and that’s not the form of a side that harbours hopes of a top ten finish.

Point Whelan is quick to point out that there is only one away game in their last four, meaning that a top half finish to the season is not impossible.

Speaking to the Sentinel, Whelan said: "They are there for a reason, but I think they are getting a bit of luck as well. Take nothing away from them though, they deserved their win.

"They look a top side and one that can make the Champions League."

He added: "We knew this would be a tough game because of the way Newcastle have been playing. But we have three games at home where we feel more comfortable.

"But we have to lift ourselves. We have four games left where we have to get something to finish off a good season and not let it just fade away."